“Fishgate” is taking over the fishing world right now, as two professional fishermen have been caught cheating in their tournaments.
A local fishing tournament hosted at Lake Erie in Cleveland was shrouded in scandal after two competitive fishermen, Jake Runyan, of Cleveland, and his partner Chase Cominsky, of Pennsylvania, were caught trying to cheat their way to victory.
According to the Toledo Blade, the two fishermen were caught stuffing the fish they caught with weights, and then packing the inside of the fish with fillets to make the weight of their catches much more than they actually were. Cheating the system in turn by boosting the fish’s weight and increasing their score throughout the competition.
Unsurprisingly this same tandem of fishermen has been dominating the competition at many of these Lake Erie Walleye Tour tournaments. According to The Hill, the duo had been winning tons of tournaments over the past few years, making away with cash prizes, and even winning a boat as one of the prizes as well.
The anglers’ history of winning had been deemed “the most incredible run of luck ever on Lake Erie,” and obviously we now know this was anything but luck that these rods were experiencing.
One fellow angler and eyewitness, John Stewart told his part of the whole situation, detailing the reaction he had to the scandal when exposed.
“That was the shocking part, like ‘oh wow, you really did that.’ Like, it was just so blatant. It was just like they didn’t have a care in the world,” Stewart said.
Runyan and Cominsky were very confident in their ability to win — well, cheat — and not get caught. They assured so when Stewart interviewed them prior to the event they got caught at.
“We’ve won three LEWT tournaments in a row: Lorain, Ashtabula, and Geneva. I don’t want to sound arrogant or cocky but I am confident that we should do well in this championship also because that’s just what we do, winners win,” the foul fisherman said in response to Stewart questioning them and their run of luck in the past fishing tournaments.
No, cheaters cheat, and they also eventually get caught. That is exactly what happened, when other fishermen and the director of the local tournament started questioning Runyan and Cominsky and how the fish they were catching were equating to the weights they got. When the director said that he felt something hard in the fish’s belly, that raised suspicions of foul play. The director took some of the fish and gutted them open and found weights inside the fish.
That’s when all hell broke loose. The pro fishing world is outraged by the cheating and the way the fisherman abused other fish in order to carry out their plan of deception.
Needless to say, Runyan and Cominsky were immediately disqualified from the tournament. The organizers of the tournament also contacted local authorities and state wildlife officers to come to collect the evidence as well as more information from the witnesses, and then sent the report off to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office.
“Fishgate” will be looming over this Lake Erie fishing competition for a long time, and the reputations of Runyan and Cominsky have surely been dismantled because of this incident. It will be interesting to see how fishing tournaments and competitions check the competitors involved moving forward.
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